Connexn Technologies unveiled at Billing and OSS World 2004 this week a new platform for recouping operator revenue lost from billing and OSS errors.. Dubbed Certo, after the Latin for certitude, the cost and revenue assurance (CRA) software was rolled out with a series of three packaged applications for interconnect, wireless postpaid usage and wireline postpaid subscription.
Connexn also announced CSG Systems, a billing provider, will integrate its technology with Connexns for an integrated billing, data mediation and CRA offering.
Certo integrates a host of existing products into one integrated, modular solution for CRA, automating the process from project configuration and initial systems audit to detection, management and correction of data discrepancies between the billing system and the switches; and, it can view multiple applications and connectivity types on the same platform. It also brings together the process into a graphical, customizable, XML/J2EE-based format, accessible via a Web portal known as the dashboard.
CRA was a manual, departmental, ad hoc basis with no CxO ownership, and its evolved to a quasi-enterprise solution, with some automation and deployment system-wide, says Connexn President and CEO Woody Ritchie. Certo takes that further, giving full visibility certainly to the CFO, due to the revenue containment aspects, and often to the CEO, system-wide, bringing together data from different legacy systems, CRM and various switches.
The dashboard allows a service provider to configure different views of the system according to user profile, job title or permissions level, so a CxO can access a higher level of information than a network administrator, for example.
Certo includes an independent rating engine to verify rate plans, management and analysis for multiple CRA applications, integration with existing BSS/OSS systems and network elements via standards-based interfaces and workflow tools to monitor productivity.
The three prepackaged applications can scale from an entry-level configuration to enterprise-wide, and they focus on process automation and management of billing discrepancies. For wireless postpaid: By cross-referencing a series of adaptive business rules and fixes, the system will auto-correct what it can and sends the overflow to a queue. Once an administrator decides on a manual fix for these, the system will execute it. The administrator also can take care of problems in batches, for series of records with the same problem. The interconnect package identifies and corrects undercharging of interconnect customers due to lost CDRs and rate table errors, while identifying overcharges and inefficient traffic routing.
On the usage side, the system detects underlying issues leading to errors by taking SS7 probe feeds, network elements, mediation and billing, and making sure records get to billing and are being rated correctly. Missing records issues and the like can be routed by the administrator to the appropriate department via the system, with all record data and graphs passed along with the request. Workflow management tools trace the resolution process.
Errors are often created upstream, but first show up in the billing system, says Ritchie. This can find exactly where the errors were introduced.
He explains that automating the audit, detection and resolution of billing errors reduces cost of ownership and operational expenditures by bolstering administrator productivity, while allowing service providers to find and fix billing errors more quickly.
Connexn expects to create more packaged applications over the course of this year and next.